Working on the Harbor School’s Billion Oyster Project to restore oysters in New York Harbor. Harbor School Photo
Don’t miss, “Take Back the Harbor” at 5 p.m. July 14 at the Movie Theater. The 39-minute documentary follows students from the Harbor School in New York City as they work in the harbor and travel to Fishers Island to learn about growing oysters as part of the Billion Oyster Project, an unprecedented program to restore once-bountiful oysters to New York Harbor.
Murray Fisher, who grew up summering on Fishers Island, founded the Harbor School in 2002 to teach waterway stewardship, along with a full high school curriculum. He and Pete Malinowski, whose family owns and runs Fishers Island Oyster Farm, started the Billion Oyster Project with the hope of restoring oyster reefs to New York Harbor through public education initiatives.
“Oysters are good for New York Harbor, because they filter gallons and gallons of pollutants,” Fisher said. “Planting a billion oysters in the harbor by 2035 seems so big and so impossible, but we wanted to build a movement.”
Two award-winning filmmakers, Kristi Jacobson and Roger Ross Williams, captured the students, teachers and Billion Oyster team as they built reefs, monitored growth and performed marine bio research over the course of a year. Cameras were there to capture the dedication of these students as they marked victories and also faced setbacks in their journey to install the largest reef in New York City with 50,000 oysters in Jamaica Bay.
A Harbor School student, Nicholas, expressed thoughts that underline the goals and ultimate success of the Fisher/Malinowski program: “To me, the only way to have hope in restoring the harbor, and really the planet as a whole, is to make hope, Nothing is going to happen unless someone does it. And that someone might as well be me.”
Stay for reception and Q & A session following film.